Modern Healthcare - - Regional News -

Ge­orge and Rhonda Houser, for­mer op­er­a­tors of three Ge­or­gia nurs­ing homes, last month pleaded not guilty to charges of con­spir­acy to de­fraud the state’s Medi­care and Med­i­caid pro­grams of more than $30 mil­lion be­tween 2004 and 2007. They were re­leased on bond. Through their Rome, Ga.-based com­pany, Fo­rum Health­care Group, the Housers owned and man­aged Mount Berry Nurs­ing and Rehabilitation Cen­ter and Mo­ran Lake Nurs­ing and Rehabilitation Cen­ter, both based in Rome, and Wild­wood Park Nurs­ing and Rehabilitation Cen­ter, Brunswick, Ga. In 2007, all three homes were in­vol­un­tar­ily ter­mi­nated from the Medi­care and Med­i­caid pro­grams be­cause of ev­i­dence of ram­pant fraud and abuse. The 11-count in­dict­ment de­tailed con­spir­acy charges that the Housers had fun­neled mil­lions of dol­lars in funds for per­sonal use, in­clud­ing pur­chases of prop­erty and cars. That di­ver­sion of cash left the three nurs­ing homes dan­ger­ously strapped, the govern­ment said, and short­ages of food and med­i­cal sup­plies were com­mon­place. Care at the homes was “so de­fi­cient, in­ad­e­quate, sub­stan­dard as to con­sti­tute worth­less ser­vices,” the in­dict­ment stated. Suba­cute Ser­vices, Lil­burn, Ga., took con­trol of the homes in Novem­ber 2007 and changed the names of all three fa­cil­i­ties.

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